So what would this new party look like? Well, one imagines that its backbone would be current Alberta Liberals, although it's hard to say if this would be done via a rebirth or a killing of the ALP. The new party would certainly to sit in the middle of the political spectrum, and it would likely need to be led by someone not directly affiliated with the ALP.
Could it Succeed?
I think it could, so long as it's seen to be something "different" from the ALP - this can't just be a Reform begat Alliance scenario, it needs to look like a real coalition (although, I'd shy away from that word, for obvious reasons); that means prominent PCs would need to be a part of this movement.
But, to steal some prose from the great philosopher MC Hammer, PCs are unlikely "2 quit", unless the party looks "legit". Similarly, Liberals are pragmatic animals by nature, and would only abandon their brand if this new alternative is seen as having some chance of eventually forming government.
So it really comes down to whether or not there's enough momentum for the party to reach a critical mass of support out of the gate. To accomplish this, they'd need three things, many of them closely linked to each other:
1. Official Opposition Status: There are currently 9 Liberal MLAs in the Leg. Now, obviously all 9 Liberals joined by another 9 Tories would be the dream scenario, but even if you had 4 + 3, they'd get official opposition status and all the perks associated with it.
2. Credible Leadership: The movement would need to gather steam before an actual leader is selected but its electoral success would ride largely on the strength of its eventual leader. Dave Bronconnier - should he one day learn how to take a political risk - would be the best candidate out there, but a fresh face to the political scene could be the answer as well. Or, if you want a really wild idea, how about Joe Clark?
3. Media Credibility: This will depend on the success of the above two points, as well as from my initial premise that there need to be prominent Red Tories involved with this movement for it to have any hope of succeeding.
If nothing else, this should add some spice to the bland world of Alberta politics. While having yet another party splitting the vote on the left doesn't do anyone not named Ed any good, Alberta desperately needs a viable alternative to the PCs.
It's very much up in the air as to whether or not this new party could be that alternative, but there's something to be said for taking risks in a political climate where there is absolutely nothing to lose. It's highly unlikely the ALP will be forming government anytime soon, so this new entity might be the best hope out there of ending Alberta's 40 year run of one party rule.
In the interests of full-disclosure, I'm not at all involved with this group, and have a very low awareness of who or what their plans are. But I will certainly be following any developments with keen interest. Since, you know, there isn't a heck of a lot else to follow in the world of Alberta politics these days.
Labels: Alberta Liberal Party